One of India's foremost image management experts, Dilip Cherian, seeks answers from Sadhguru about yoga, its origins and its significance to the 21st century human being.
Through the Mystic Eye is a series of episodes featuring Sadhguru in conversation with several eminent personalities. Dilip Cherian, KV Kamath, Shekhar Kapur, JP Narayan and many more of India's leading celebrities and public figures engage Sadhguru in discussions ranging from business and governance to sports, education and mysticism.
Dilip Cherian: some senses the tragedy that has just happened in Uttarakhand
natural tragedies of this kind make one think about - one, why do they happen? Two, is it part of a much greater divine mystery and to what extent is human degradation responsible for natural calamities?
Sadhguru: Human being is not the center of this universe. He can rise to a state where he can imbibe the universe - he can contain the universe within himself in terms of his experience. Such a possibility is there for one who explores, but the making of the universe, the making of the solar system and even the planet is not human centric. That is, every other life on the planet and everywhere else, every other form of life, not necessarily physical, all of them have a role to play.
So, what is being construed as calamity is not really a calamity - a cloudburst is not a calamity. A mega wave in the ocean which you call as tsunami is not a calamity. An earthquake is not a calamity. Mother earth just stretches herself a little bit and a thousand people die and we think it’s a calamity. Right now, if wind blows hard, the mosquito population here in the garden thinks it’s a calamity because all their relatives got blown away. Understand? (Laughs)
So, our state is not any different. So, there is no such thing as natural calamity.
because everything has a certain lifespan - whether it’s individual human being or the planet or the solar system or the universe has a lifespan, maybe not comparable to our lifespan, so we think it’s eternal, but it all has a lifespan, so it is going through a certain cyclical process.
In this process, if an earthquake happened a thousand years ago, people would have just felt the tremors and they thought God is angry and they would have kept quiet.
Dilip Cherian: Sure, sure.
Sadhguru: Not too many would have died, because somewhere an earthquake happens, we did not span across the planet as we do today. Today, we are too many… we are nice, but we are too many. (Laughs) Because we are too many - if one wave comes, twenty five thousand people will die; one cloudburst, close to twenty thousand people die;
It is just we are a calamity, we are in the way of everything without understanding anything. We are trying to live on the planet without having a clue about what is the nature of the planet, how it functions, what are its requirements - without any of this understanding or making an accommodation for that, we just simply… we are too overjoyed with our own ability to do a few petty things… we are too enamored with our own petty intellect. I think this is an evolutionary problem.
. The… the religions of the book… of the book, the religions which have come thereafter of,
have in many senses either deliberately and this is the… this is the… and… or because of design by the people who designed them, lost that fundamental tenet of the belief in the self. Because you, all the religions of the book go away from the more earlier forms of animism, the understanding of… of rocks, of… of stone, of mystic places, all those have in some senses been lost. Is that therefore devolution instead of evolution in modern thinking and religion… religious thinking?
Sadhguru: Definitely not evolution. Devolution is not a strong enough word, because it is a complete backward step, in the sense - that’s what in the very beginning what I said, this whole idea that the existence is human-centric comes from this.
Dilip Cherian: Yes.
Sadhguru: Comes from these religions. Before these religions came, if you look at any other form of spiritual processes happening anywhere in the world, whether it’s the Australian aborigines or India for that matter or Africa or North America, South America, wherever you see, everybody recognized the significance of every other life on level with human life.
Dilip Cherian: Yes.
Sadhguru: Whether it is an ant or a bird or an insect or a rock or anything was recognized as significant as a human being because it is simple sense to understand what the soil that you walk upon is what you car… carry as your body right now. It’s just simple sense. This simple sense is completely taken away because everything that is universe is in a… is sitting in a book.
Dilip Cherian: Yes.
Sadhguru: And (Laughs) you got to agree with the book, otherwise you are dead.
Dilip Cherian: That’s it.
When certain structures are made in the making of a civilization, in the making of whatever, in the making of a future for human beings or a set of human beings or the whole humanity, whichever way, either you can bank on human intelligence and create those things or you can bank it on human consciousness and do those things or you can bank on human baseness and fear and insecurity and do those things. Unfortunately, most religions have chosen to address the baseness and fear in the human being rather than his all-inclusive consciousness or even his intellect for that matter.
So, the prayers in India were never asking. There was no such thing as prayer actually. Invocations and methods of worship… scientific methods of doing things and invocations. So, the only prayer was “Let me be destroyed the way I am, so that the bigger possibility manifest within me.” This whole prayer of “Dear God, give me this, give me that, save me, protect me,” you just look at it today ninety nine percent of the prayers are just this. “Give me this, give me that, save me, protect me.” Does it look like survival or does it look like spiritual process or religion to you? Just survival. You are rooting your survival through heaven. It’s a very inefficient way of doing it.
Dilip Cherian: But every religion has succumbed to this, you know, half the poojas, half the stones people were, half the, you know, processes they conduct in temples are all fundamentally part of an ‘ask’. And ‘ask’ is the cornerstone of religion’s survival, because… because you ask, you give, because you expect.
Sadhguru: I want you to… I want you to look at this. This can become a major study. (Laughs) Nobody has done this. You must look at the… If you look, if you walk into any ancient temple, you will see none of the processes are about asking. There is no room to ask. There is no room for adulation nor for asking, just scientific processes. One thing that you must see, Dilip, is there is something called as Sapta Rishi Pooja in the… in Kashi.
This happened when Adiyogi gave this knowledge to the Sapta Rishis. It went on for a very long time. Then he told them to go across the world and spread it.
Sadhguru: See, when Sapta Rishis were leaving Adiyogi, having been with him, having shared this phenomenal science, having experienced it, they were not very eager to leave him and go. So they said, “If we go away, how do we again see you? You are sending us off that we will never come back. How do we do?” Then he told them, “You do this. I am with you.”
Dilip Cherian: Okay.
Sadhguru: So, he taught them Sapta Rishi Pooja.
Dilip Cherian: Okay.
Sadhguru: It’s today called Sapta Rishi Pooja, I don’t know what he called it. These ordinary priests who are doing it probably for money today, maybe not entirely - probably they respect the tradition that’s offered them this, but money has become an important part of that, they are just doing the procedure in a certain way. You will be amazed, the stacks and stacks of energy that they build up there. See, we can do this in a different way if the necessary protected atmosphere is there. I will build it up in a certain way. In our programs, in things… we do things like this.
Dilip Cherian: Sure.
Sadhguru: But, these are not people who have any internal capacity. They are just doing a process, outside process, which is so absolutely amazing that though the individual performing it - this is pure technology. You don’t know a da… you don’t know one thing about your cellphone, but you know how to use it, you can speak to America. It’s just like that. These guys themselves know nothing, but they are just sticking to the procedure and it’s working miraculously. Miraculously means I was just flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe. I always have a certain disdain for temple priests and the way things are conducted. I suddenly bowed down to them and said, “Okay, this is great.” If you kept it for fifteen thousand years without distorting it, we have to, you know… (Laughs)
Dilip Cherian: Bow down to it. Yes.
Sadhguru: …bow down to you, whoever you may be right now.
Dilip Cherian: Yeah. And whatever the brain, we both bow to it. So that’s also fine, but you talked about what yoga means, which is the whole concept of unity. Unfortunately, both in India and elsewhere, even this concept is getting both, not just diluted - diluted is you will say and I am hesitant to use…
Dilip Cherian: …is distorted, and distorted to an extent where it is almost unrecognizable. A lot of so-called yoga gurus have partitioned the whole… compartmentalized it as to a form of physical exercise and have lost out the core of that whole… the whole concept of it, which… and to some extent I know that you are re… you are trying to rework it at the ashram and working on new… a new age set of teachers who will hopefully unify the whole thing back again. But, do you think that this breaking up is again an expression of where we are, consciousness, humanity, togetherness, all of that?
Sadhguru: Just ignorance.
Dilip Cherian: Okay. No, but what happens to yoga? Since your… since this is an area which you are…
Sadhguru: Now, the California court ruled that if yoga has to enter the schools, you must remove all the Indian names. So, Padmasana is being renamed as “Crisscross Applesauce.” (Laughter)
Dilip Cherian: You are joking.
Sadhguru: I am not joking.
Dilip Cherian: Crisscross applesauce?
Sadhguru: Yes. To teach the children crisscross applesauce Tshshsh, it looks like Padmasana. (Laughter) So, (Laughs) I must cry, but I am laughing. (Laughter)
Dilip Cherian: I know. This is weep worthy.
In terms of yoga getting all distorted, it is a serious concern because the type of yoga that is going on particularly, you know I… though I come from the stables of Hata Yoga, I never thought I should teach Hata Yoga because I didn’t want to put people through such long processes, because I have (Claps) other ways of doing things. I thought we will never really teach Hata Yoga except as a preparation for some long meditation programs, just forty days - sixty days kind of preparation.
But, then the last five-six years, I have seen many… I think I have taken off at least… at least two dozen reasonably popular yoga teachers in America to stop teaching. Because I just pointed out what they were doing and how it is impacting their lives. See, doing improper yoga is not just that they are going to hurt their body, they will bring calamities into their life. Because what you… what you need to understand is Hata Yoga - the simple physical form of yoga is a way of aligning your system with the cosmic geometry.
Dilip Cherian: So, if you do it wrong, it’s dangerous?
Sadhguru: If you do it wrong, you not just may cause physical damage, you will bring situations in your life, which are completely disastrous for you. Whether your life works smoothly and constantly successfully or constantly you are in a pit depends on how well aligned or you are dis-aligned with the whole process. So, Hata Yoga is one way of aligning. It is a more, what to say, physically probably in today’s world more difficult way of doing it, but there is a certain beauty to it because it gives you health, it gives you well-being, at the same time, it gives you success and focus and a different level of blissfulness in the body, which very few people experience. If you just sit here, how my… my body feels right now, I won’t exchange this for anything. So, why you don’t go for a drink or a drug or something else, which is physically whatever is simply because you are in a better state than all those things. If I was miserable, maybe I would also drink. (Laughs)
Dilip Cherian: Yeah.
Sadhguru: If there is something going to elevate you for some time, why don’t you do it? But, when everything is so fantastic, why do you want to mess it up with something? That is the question. It’s… it’s not a moral decision. It is just a question of…
Dilip Cherian: Physical need.
Sadhguru: No, it’s a question of, if you… if you are living in a better place, why do you want to come down to a more gross and you know basic kind of thing. So, when you are able to manage your own chemistry the way you want it, why would you want to throw chemicals into the system? It’s as simple as that. So, when I saw this yogic systems which are growing and becoming popular in America, I wouldn’t like to name (Laughs) people and whatever because… for many reasons. For example, these days it’s become a fad for people to do yoga in forty two degree centigrade temperature. The classical yoga always prescribes - if you do any yogic process, you must either do it before eight thirty or nine in the morning or after four, four thirty in the evening, because you must do it in the cooler hours. When you do any yogic practice, particularly Hata Yoga, you will develop an enormous amount of ushna. Ushna is not to be understood as temperature alone. It causes temperature, but it is not temperature by itself. The whole ayurvedic system functions on ushna, chitta, and pitha.
Dilip Cherian: Yes, absolutely.
Sadhguru: So, ushna is one aspect because the yogi always wants to keep his ushna slightly above the normal. He wants to be hot. These days, everyone wants to be cool.
Dilip Cherian: Everybody wants to be hot.
Sadhguru: Everybody wants to be cool. (Laughs) You are out of time.
Dilip Cherian: No, no. (Laughter) I acknowledge.
Sadhguru: There was a time when everybody wanted to be hot.
Dilip Cherian: Wanted to be hot, yeah.
Sadhguru: Now everybody wants to be cool. So, a yogi always wants to be little above the normal heat because… for various reasons. If your body… because the yogi’s main concern is his perception, that he wants his perception to be unhindered. So, anything that comes in its way, he wants it to be burnt out in the system. He does not want any excess mucus in the system, he does not want any excess fluids in the system. He wants to keep it slightly hotter than what is normal. So, when you practice Hata Yoga, the whole system is created to cre… generate that ushna. So, always you must do it in the cooler hours, otherwise it will go and cause cellular damage. So, now they are doing yoga at forty two degree centigrade. When I saw this, this is insanity. In fact, some exercise systems are called insanity you know, (They have) become very popular.
Dilip Cherian: I will tell you that. There is one school in Delhi which was teaching it. As an experiment, I went to see what it’s like. Just the sheer smell of human sweat in that room made me leave the classroom instantly. (Sadhguru Laughs) You can imagine practicing hot yoga in Delhi, in the summer months.
Sadhguru: Anyway, if… if you allow these things to happen for a period of time, one day medical research will come and show you how doing yoga destroys your system. It’s not far away. Already some articles in New York Times have come and they become… they have been circularized all over…
Dilip Cherian: Yes, yes, yes.
Sadhguru: …how yoga is damaging to the system. If you allow this kind of yoga to flourish, that will be the conclusion in another five to ten years that yoga is very damaging to the system and immediately everybody will drop it. Right now, it’s rising without any papacy anywhere. Simply, by its sheer efficacy, it’s just rising all over the world. You will kill that. So that’s the reason I decided we must train Hata Yoga teachers in classical Hata Yoga - twenty one weeks, a dedicated focused time. They have never been through any training in their life like this. They think being a yoga teacher means dressing up in a certain way and you know, using a few Indian words, this makes them into… (Laughs)
Dilip Cherian: And producing a video.
Sadhguru: Yeah. So, now we are really putting them through works, twenty one weeks and this will produce definitely more stable teachers who will take yoga in its right format, so that tomorrow if somebody is doing yoga, any kind of scient… scientific study you conduct on them should be an absolute thumbs up for sure, on all levels - physically, psychologically, emotionally, and in ways that they don’t understand